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Contractions

“I’m”, “You’ve”, “It’s”, “We’d” …
The verb to contract means to make something smaller, which is exactly what a contraction is! Contractions are short ways to say or write two or more words at the same time. While very common in speech and informal writing, contractions are not used in formal writing. The most common function of a contraction is to replace a vowel with an apostrophe:
I am →I’m
We are →We’re
Sometimes a contraction replaces more than one letter, and sometimes a contraction could have two possible non-contracted forms:
He will →He’ll
I have →I’ve
She had →
She would →
She’d
There are many contractions that are regularly used in English. Note that it is always correct to use the non-contracted form when speaking or writing – contractions just make speaking and writing flow more quickly. See our list below of all the contractions in the English language. If you’re unsure of how to pronounce it, click on the play icon to hear the pronunciation of each contraction. The most common contractions are highlighted.

List of all English contractions

ContractionNon-contracted formExample / Extra info
ain’tam not / are not / is not / has not / have not“Ain’t” is very informal and is only used by some English speakers. See the Wikipedia article for more information.
aren’tare not“aren’t” is sometimes used to pose questions: “Aren’t I the best?” Although “Am I not the best?” is the correct way to form this sentence, “amn’t” is not a valid contraction.
can’tcannotI can’t come with tonight, I’m sick.
could’vecould haveI could’ve told you that if you had asked!
couldn’tcould notThe doctor couldn’t tell me what was wrong.
didn’tdid notHe didn’t come to class today.
doesn’tdoes notShe doesn’t want to become a doctor.
don’tdo notWe don’t have time to stop at the supermarket.
hadn’thad notOur family hadn’t been to California before.
hasn’thas notIt hasn’t started raining yet.
haven’thave notHaven’t you seen this film already?
he’dhe had
he would
He’d been acting odd all day.
He’d like a slice of pizza.
he’llhe willHe’ll be here soon.
he’she is
he has
He’s the best student in class.
how’dhow did
how would
How’d you do that?
How’d you like your steak cooked?
how’llhow willHow’ll the weather be tomorrow?
how’show is
how has
how does
How’s your brother doing?
How’s it been going?
How’s it work?
I’dI had
I would
I’d been sitting there for hours.
I’d like a Coke, please.
I’llI willI’ll be home by 6:00pm tonight.
I’mI amI’m very tired.
I’veI haveI’ve been to London twice before.
isn’tis notIsn’t he studying law?
it’dit had
it would
It’d been days since I last saw him.
It’d be nice to meet your friend.
it’llit willIt’ll be a lovely day tomorrow.
it’sit is
it has
It’s a pity that we have to leave.
It’s been nice seeing you.
let’slet usLet’s meet for lunch tomorrow.
ma’ammadamExcuse me, ma’am.
mightn’tmight notI mightn’t be home till late.
might’vemight haveHe might’ve already gone to bed.
mustn’tmust notYou mustn’t run with scissors.
must’vemust haveShe must’ve forgotten to call me.
needn’tneed notYou needn’t worry about me!
not’venot haveYou might not’ve heard, but we’re engaged!
o’clockof the clockSee you at four o’clock this afternoon!
shan’tshall notI shan’t go to work today.
she’dshe had
she would
She’d been working very hard.
She’d be a great teacher.
she’llshe willShe’ll bring the wine tonight.
she’sshe is
she has
She’s quite tall.
She’s taken the train home.
should’veshould haveSecrets are no good, you should’ve told me.
shouldn’tshould notOne shouldn’t work too hard.
that’llthat willThat’ll be quite a fun vacation!
that’sthat is
that has
That’s an excellent idea.
there’dthere had
there would
There’d been an accident on the highway.
There’d be no chance of winning without you!
there’rethere areThere’re about ten people here.
there’sthere is
there has
There’s plenty of gas in the car.
There’s been a mistake.
they’dthey had
they would
They’d been walking in the wrong direction.
They’d tell me if they knew.
they’llthey willI was told they’ll be late to class today.
they’rethey areThey’re interested in mathematics.
they’vethey haveThey’ve spent all of their money.
wasn’twas notShe wasn’t planning on coming today.
we’dwe had
we would
We’d lost our keys.
We’d like to book a room at the hotel.
we’llwe willWe’ll work for as long as necessary.
we’rewe areWe’re not sure where he went.
we’vewe haveWe’ve been driving for many hours.
weren’twere notWe weren’t worried about him.
what’llwhat willWhat’ll the weather be like next week?
what’rewhat areWhat’re you trying to say?
what’swhat is
what has
What’s your name?
What’s he got in his bag?
what’vewhat haveWhat’ve you done today so far?
when’swhen is
when has
When’s your birthday?
When’s she been cruel to you?
where’dwhere didWhere’d you go last night?
where’vewhere haveWhere’ve you been all day?
who’dwho had
who would
She saw the man who’d been driving the bus.
Who’d have thought!
who’llwho willWho’ll cook dinner tonight?
who’rewho areWho’re your favorite singers?
who’swho is
who has
Who’s your favorite player?
Who’s been working hard?
who’vewho haveWho’ve spoken with about this?
why’llwhy willWhy’ll he not speak with her?
why’rewhy areIt’s your day off, why’re you working?
why’swhy is
why has
Why’s he angry?
Why’s she been so quiet?
won’twill notI won’t go to the cinema tonight.
would’vewould haveI would’ve been happy to help you.
wouldn’twould notHe wouldn’t tell me where he was going.
y’allyou allDo y’all speak English?
you’dyou had
you would
You’d already taken the bus home.
You’d like my friend, she’s very nice.
you’llyou willYou’ll see my new haircut tomorrow in class.
you’reyou areYou’re a good friend!
you’veyou haveYou’ve been studying all week.